Right of Way Permits

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The City Engineering Right-of-Way (ROW) Program handles over 1,300 permits annually for construction activity within the City ROW including Residential, Commercial and Utility work.

City Public ROW is property under the ownership and control of the City used for public access and related purposes, including roads, curbs, driveways, sidewalks, alleys, lighting, bike paths, storm drainage and plaza areas. As a rule of thumb, the public ROW extends 10 to 12 feet beyond the edge of the street or curb to the beginning of a property line.

Receiving a Permit – First Steps

A permit is required prior to commencing construction, maintenance or utility work in the Public ROW.

  • Applicant shall submit a complete Permit Application package (forms, site drawings, submittals, etc.).
  • Standard time to issue a permit is 48 to 72 hours.
  • ROW Permit Fee = $10.
  • Open Cut Fee = $325 for each pavement cut.
  • Once a permit is issued, payment shall be made by check or cash only.
  • Contractor shall hold a pre-construction meeting with a City Construction Inspector.
  • A valid permit must always be kept on-site.

  • Driveway permits require 5 days from the time of approval to provide a survey stake out.
  • City Standard Provisions and Street Cut Policy apply to all permits and Permittee is responsible for compliance to all other applicable Laws, Regulations, Special Use Conditions, etc.


Please Note: The submission of an application does not authorize the work and we understand that each application deserves careful attention. To help both the applicant through the process, staff will review applications for completeness prior to a full technical review. Staff will work to meet typical turnaround times and prioritize applications based on the level of need. For example, emergency work vs. maintenance vs. new construction activities.

  • City Streets Department general information, here
  • Permitting within the Wilmington Historic District may require review and a Certificate of Appropriateness, especially for above ground facilities. Contact Historic Preservation Planning.
  • Permitting for Zoning, Film, Race, Events, Fire etc. are handled by other City divisions.
  • Building Inspections are controlled by New Hanover County, Building Safety Department at 910.798.7308. https://buildingsafety.nhcgov.com
  • Applications for Water & Sewer service is controlled by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.  CFPUA Customer Service 910.332.6550.  Website www.CFPUA.org       

Traffic Control Plans

Submitting a proper traffic control or pedestrian control plan (TCP) is a condition of permits.

  • Traffic Control setups include barricades, cones, drums, signs, etc., and may include additional  advanced warning signs to form transition zones, buffer zones, work zones and other components.
  • Contractor shall verify TCP with owner/engineer before construction.
  • TCP shall be based on Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device (MUTCD) Part 6 or NCDOT Standards Division 11 or a Professional Engineer. The number and type of signs and barricades shall be identified and located.
  • Variable message boards (VMB) to be operational a minimum 3- 5 days prior to work.